My Sister's Keeper: Learning to Cope with a Sibling's Mental Illness

Margaret Moorman, Author
Margaret Moorman, Author W. W. Norton & Company $21.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-393-02987-1
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-023121-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-393-32404-4
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Freelance journalist Moorman here discusses the devastating effect of her older sister's mental illness on their family. Suffering from manic-depressive disorder, Sally became the focus of her parents' attention. Poisonous arguments between Sally and her symbiotically involved mother, punctuated by fights between her parents, racked their upper-middle-class suburban home during Peggy's childhood and teens. The author fell into a pattern of denying her sister's illness, even her existence, while at the same time identifying profoundly with Sally's pitiful unhappiness. In the wake of her father's death, a teenage Peggy gave up a baby for adoption; for years she lived in terror that she would become mentally ill herself, was deeply depressed and plagued by feelings of self-doubt. Their mother's death in 1987 compelled the author to confront the reality of Sally's needs and freed Sally to take a measure of responsibility for herself. The book succeeds as a brave, poignant memoir of a difficult coming-of-age, as a lifeline to siblings of the mentally ill and as a crucial addition to the literature on the subject. (Apr.)
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